The Braves have finalized their injury-depleted starting rotation and have named David Hale their fourth starter, Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports. One through five, their rotation will be:
- Julio Teheran
- Ervin Santana
- Alex Wood
- David Hale
- Aaron Harang
Teheran will start on Opening Day, March 31, in Milwaukee against Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo. Newcomer Ervin Santana is expected to make his Braves debut in the second week of the season.
The Braves currently have three starting pitchers on the disabled list. Mike Minor went on the disabled list retroactive to March 21 with a shoulder injury and is expected to return towards the end of April. Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy will both miss the entire 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Despite the injuries, the Braves are still expected to give the Nationals a run for their money in the NL East.
Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal has not had a good postseason. Entering Monday night’s NLCS Game 3, he was batting .111/.238/.278 in 21 trips to the plate across the NLDS and the first two games of the NLCS.
Defense has also been an issue for Grandal. In Game 1 of the NLCS, Grandal was on the hook for two passed balls. In the sixth inning of Game 3 Monday night, he couldn’t corral a curve in the dirt, which allowed Travis Shaw to score the Brewers’ second run of the night. Starter Walker Buehler was charged with a wild pitch. In the eighth, with Ryan Braun on first base and Shaw at the plate, Grandal again couldn’t corral a pitch in the dirt, allowing Braun to move to second base. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Alex Wood was able to escape the inning with no damage.
Manager Dave Roberts said that Austin Barnes, not Grandal, will start behind the plate for Game 4 on Tuesday night, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. That comes as no surprise at all. When Grandal struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Dodger fans regaled him with boos.
Barnes will be an upgrade defensively, but he’s lacking with the bat. He had an 0-for-3 performance in Game 2, though with an RBI, bringing his career slash line in the playoffs to .200/.281/.300 across 57 plate appearances. During the regular season, his career 100 adjusted OPS is a fair bit behind Grandal’s 115. Roberts is trading offense for defense in Game 4. Rich Hill will get the start opposite the Brewers’ Gio González.